6 February 2011

Hello lovely people!

This year we’ve been a tiny bit disloyal to our beloved Chiltern Seeds and ordered from someone else as well – Special Plants.  We’re quite impressed with both the selection and the prices.  Here we go…

Adlumia fungosa – not generally fans of Bleeding Heart-types, but this climber looks perfect for one of our new shady bits:

Anemonopsis macrophylla.  We’ve been lusting after this beauty for years (no exaggeration), and we’ve finally got the right spot for it:

Cephalaria gigantea. A splash of pale yellow and some height for our meadow bed:

Dahlia coccinea. Dahlias are incredibly easy from seed and this one looks like a winner:

Dicentra scandens. Another Bleeding Heart – so much for our dislike…:

Eryngium alpinum ‘Blue Star’.  We love our thistle-y shapes – surprising that we haven’t introduced this before now:

Lobelia siphilitica:

Lobelia tupa.  A bit of a risk hardiness-wise, but we’re going to give it a go:

Nicotiana mutabilis.  Easy, and oh so pretty:

Orlaya grandiflora. One of the prettiest things we grew last year.  Truly the queen of umbellifers:

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker’s Red’.  Hardy (yay!), and native to Maine – JD’s home state (yay!):

Primula vialii. We’ve really gone all out for primulas this year.  Another one we’ve wanted in the garden for years:

Roemeria hybrida A new one for us.  How gorgeous:

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’.  Bright, brash, a bit OTT – perfect!

Tragopogon crocifolius. Another one for the pots:

Now we’re just waiting for the seeds to arrive…

Happy Gardening!!!

30 January 2011 (part 2)

It’s not all about flowers – here’s our herb order from Chiltern Seeds:

Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi):

A new one for us.  The seeds are variously described as tasting like caraway, thyme, anise and/or oregano.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis):

Thai basil:


Culantro (Eryngium foetidum):

Also known as long coriander or saw tooth herb.  Part of our ongoing obsession with Southeast Asian cuisine.

Bronze fennel:


Green and red shiso (Perilla frutescens):

Also part of our obsession.  Yum.

Rocambole (Allium scorodoprasum):

Another new one for us.  The bulbs and bulbils are supposed to have a lovely, mild garlic flavor.


30 January 2011

We’re both in a great mood today because we’ve just reached the first milestone of the new growing season – the seed order!  In spite of the fact that we swore we’d show some restraint for a change, we got a little carried away…  (In other words, get comfortable – it’s going to be a long post!)

As ever, our beloved Chiltern Seeds was too tempting to resist.  First, a few old favorites putting in repeat appearances.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’:

Helenium autumnale ‘Helena Mix’:

Cleome spinosa:

Emilia sonchifolia:

Reseda odorata:

And one of our absolute favorites from 2010 – Didiscus caeruleus:

As for this year’s new additions, we seem to have caught primula fever.  We’re going to try Primula pulverulenta:

P. beesiana:

And P. chungensis:

Another experiment – violas.  Viola riviniana:

V. odorata var. alba:

And V. cornuta ‘Alba Minor’:

We love poppies.  This year, we’re adding 2 peony-flowered varieties (Papaver somniferum var. paeoniflorum) – ‘Black Peony’ and ‘Scarlet Peony’:

As well as a variety know for its enormous seed pods – P. somniferum ‘Giganteum’:

And a really gorgeous horned poppy – Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum:

We both love upright, slightly spiky-shaped plants so we’re adding a mullein – Verbascum olympicum:

And two foxgloves – Digitalis ferruginea:

And D. obscura:

We’re focusing on the shadier bits of the garden this year, so here are some lovely woodlanders – Smilacina racemosa:

Disporum smithii:

Paris quadrifolia:

And Kirengeshoma palmata:

A couple of umbellifers – Selinum tenuifolium:

And Chaerophyllum hirsutum v. roseum:

We want to add some height (and some yellow) to our meadow planting – Silphium lacinatum:

A pair of ‘daisy’-shaped annuals to add some summer color – Thelesperma burridgeanum:

And Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’:

One to keep the wildlife happy – fuller’s teasel (Dipsacus sativus):

Classics with a twist (sorry!) – unfamiliar varieties of well-known plants.  Semiaquilegia ecalcarata:

Clematis fusca var. violacea:

Geum rivale:

Monarda punctata:

And clary sage (Salvia sclarea):

We love using lobelia as underplanting in containers, but we’ve decided to give it a year off.  Instead, we’re going to try Verbena speciosa ‘Imagination’:

A multipurpose plant that we’ve always wanted to try – valerian (Valeriana officinalis):

Last year’s attempt to raise hardy cyclamen from seed was more successful than we expected, so we’re going to try again this year with Cyclamen purpurascens:

Finally, three lovely blueish/purplish blooms.  Trachelium caeruleum ‘Violet Veil of Flowers’:

Tweedia caerulea ‘Heavenborn’:

And Phacelia purshii:

So much for restraint.  (And this isn’t everything – stay tuned for our herb order and a try-out order with another nursery!)

9 January 2011

Finally above freezing with a bit of sunshine – time to pull out the electric hedge clipper!



Still plenty of cover for birds, but we’ve gained a tidier-looking hedge, visual interest, a better view of the pond and more space for woodland plants.  Maud approves:

Anders wielded the clippers, and I followed with the loppers and the rake.

Apart from that, not much happening.  Still waiting for Chiltern (grrr), but we ordered another dozen seed catalogs to keep us occupied. The ground is still frozen solid, but there are a few signs of life.  Swelling buds on the willows:

And the usual ravenous horde of birds – tits, chaffinches, bramblings and blackbirds:

2 January 2011

Sent our landscaping crew (Rev & Lotte) back to København.  Then some planning.  Found a great new seed site – Special Plants.  Also impressed by the selection at Primafrø.

Got fab new wellies for Xmas (thanks to Anna & Peder).

While we were in Sussex for Xmas we visited a typically amazing and jealousy-inducing garden center.  Our purchases…

Zinnia ‘Red Spider’

and Primula ‘Keilour Hybrids’, both from World Botanics,

plus mushroom spawn from Mr. Fothergill’s.

Just to remember why we do it…

1 January 2011

Welcome to the first day of a new gardening year!

Sunny and a few degrees above zero.

Project for the day – whacking back the willow and roses around the pond and on the island.

Rev hard at work…

Digitalis (plus some galium and tiarella) in the woodland garden…

Lots of work to be done…

On the feeder: sparrows, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, greenfinches and bramblings.

Desperately waiting for the Chiltern catalog!